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19 Harvard Law professors pen letter denouncing ‘The Hunting Ground’
Nineteen Harvard Law professors have written a letter condemning "The Hunting Ground," a film purporting to be a documentary about campus sexual assault. The film has been getting some Oscar buzz, and CNN is preparing to air the program next week. In a press package for the film, CNN singled out a story in the film about a sexual assault accusation at Harvard. The press packet named the accused student, even though he was not identified in the film. The 19 professors want to be sure viewers are aware that the film is highly misleading...The 19 professors include feminist icon Nancy Gertner
; outspoken critics of campus rape hysteria Elizabeth Bartholet
, Janet Halley
and Jeannie Suk
; as well as President Obama's former mentor Charles Ogletree
Inside Higher Ed
Harvard Professors: ‘Hunting Ground’ Unfair to Student
The documentary "The Hunting Ground" provides "a seriously false picture both of the general sexual assault phenomenon at universities" and of a case involving Harvard University students, 19 Harvard law professors said in a statement Wednesday...Along the way, the documentary takes frequent detours to call out a number of other institutions for mishandling or ignoring the issue, including Harvard. That section of the film focuses on an assault allegedly committed by a law student there named Brandon Winston
. On Wednesday, a week before the documentary is set to air on CNN, the Harvard professors released a lengthy statement
criticizing the the film's portrayal of the accused student's case..."Mr. Winston was finally vindicated by the Law School and by the judicial proceedings, and allowed to continue his career at the Law School and beyond. Propaganda should not be allowed to erase this just outcome." Diane Rosenfeld
, a Harvard law lecturer who did not sign Wednesday's statement, said that she disagrees with her colleagues and agrees with documentary's findings..."I fully support 'The Hunting Ground' film, which is all about ending the silencing of survivors," she said.
Student group opposes Harvard Law seal, citing slavery ties
Some students at Harvard Law School want it to change its official seal, citing its ties to an 18th-century slaveholder...Third-year law student Brian Klosterboer
, who's behind the movement, said the crest is a "reminder of this vicious family." "People say we should remember the history, but I think a lot of people don't even know about it," Klosterboer said...Royall was a brutal slaveholder who was known for killing slaves, burning at least one at the stake, said Dan Coquillette
, a visiting professor at Harvard's law school. Royall moved to Massachusetts after operating a plantation with hundreds of slaves in the West Indies, Coquillette said. Still, Coquillette, who explored Royall's history in a recent book, said he doesn't think the school should erase that history...Another third-year law student opposing the seal, Alexander Clayborne
, said the effort is only the first part of a broader examination of the law school. "Our larger goals include decolonization of the law school in general," he said, "and decolonization of the law school curriculum."
The Harvard Crimson
Minow Champions Affirmative Action in Amici Brief
Harvard Law School Dean Martha L. Minow
defended race-based affirmative action for law school admissions in an amici curiae brief filed for the the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case Fisher vs. University of Texas at Austin. Minow filed the brief Yale Law School Dean Robert C. Post ’69 last week. Harvard has also submitted an amicus brief for the Fisher case offering similar pro-affirmative action argument...In 32-page brief, which was penned by their counsel, Minow and Post contend that law schools should continue to consider race as a factor in a holistic admissions process and that a ruling to the contrary would have “devastating” educational consequences.
Policing Free Speech at the University of Missouri
An op-ed by Noah Feldman.
At the embattled University of Missouri, where the president and chancellor are stepping down, university police sent students an e-mail Tuesday urging them to call and report if they “witness incidents of hateful and/or hurtful speech.” The e-mail urged witnesses to provide descriptions of the speakers and, if safe, snap pictures of them with their phones. The First Amendment applies at a state university campus, and those who speak hatefully or hurtfully can't be criminally punished. But they can be penalized or expelled if they create an environment that's hostile on the basis of race or sex. There's a serious tension between these interests, and the Missouri e-mail raises a pressing question: Does the use of campus police to enforce anti-discrimination advance the goal of knowledge or detract from it?
WBUR On Point
The New Face Of Big Money Politics (audio)
After the GOP debate, a look at the power and limitations of money and super PACs in presidential politics this season...Guests...Lawrence Lessig
, Roy L. Furman professor of law and leadership at the Harvard Law School and former Democratic candidate for President.
The Wall Street Journal
Samarco May Not Shield BHP, Vale From Brazil Dam-Breach Repercussions
When BHP Billiton Ltd. and Vale SA started a joint iron-mining venture in rural Brazil nearly 40 years ago, the mining giants created a new corporate entity: a limited-liability company that, in theory, protected its owners from litigation in case of disaster. But in practice, Brazilian authorities and lawyers say, the corporate structure does little to shield its parents from big fines, cleanup and legal costs after two tailings ponds owned by the joint venture—called Samarco Mineracao SA—burst last week. At least six people were killed, 21 are still missing, and farms and villages were destroyed...Such suits have become more difficult to bring in recent years after Supreme Court decisions limited the scope of cases involving foreign parties to serious violations like human-rights abuses, and forced plaintiffs to prove more distinct U.S. connections to bad behavior abroad, said Susan Farbstein
, a professor at Harvard Law School who has represented plaintiffs in such cases.
Supreme Court Shields Police From Juries
An op-ed by Noah Feldman.
In the post-Ferguson era, the details of a police shooting that kills a fleeing defendant are all-important -- and you might think we would want juries, not judges, to consider them. But on Monday, eight justices of the U.S. Supreme Court made it harder for police shooting cases to reach a jury. The court held that a Texas state trooper couldn't be sued for using his rifle to shoot the driver of a car that led police on an 18-minute chase. Only Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who’s emerging as the court’s conscience on race, thought the suit should be able to go forward.
Is Email Evil?
Sometime in the past 20 years, people soured on email. Culturally, it went from delightful to burdensome, a shift that’s reflected in the very language of the inbox. In the 1990s, AOL would gleefully announce, “You’ve got mail!” Today, Gmail celebrates the opposite: “No new mail!” So what happened to email? What happened to us? These are some of the questions that come up in the new technology podcast Codebreaker, the first season of which is fixated on the question, “Is it evil?”...“Email is the last great unowned technology,” said the Harvard law professor Jonathan Zittrain
in the first episode of Codebreaker, “and by unowned I mean there is no CEO of email... it’s just a shared hallucination that works.”
It’s Hard to Pay a Lawyer Without Money
An op-ed by Noah Feldman.
If you’re arrested and charged with a white-collar crime, can the government freeze the assets you need to pay for a lawyer to prove your innocence? Remarkably, there's no definitive legal answer to this question, which the U.S. Supreme Court will take up Tuesday. It’s established that the government can freeze tainted assets that it traces to your alleged crime, and that you don’t get to challenge that determination. But Tuesday's case will answer the further question of whether the government can freeze any of your assets up to the value of what it says you stole -- not just assets it identifies as tainted proceeds.